1. Nothing About My Anxiety Is Cute by Ari Eastman
This article is excellent for people who are fed up with people glamorizing anxiety. Read this if you want a straight to the point, honest, thought provoking essay on what real anxiety is.
Excerpt: “As a kid, I used to stare at the ceiling and feel a heaviness on my chest. Luckily, I had parents who were super proactive and understanding, parents I could approach with my mental health concerns. And for me, medication helps curb some of the issues from my anxiety disorder. But not all. Because nothing is ever perfectly, magically healed. That’s just not how this stuff works.Anxiety is not an identity for viral consumption. It’s not for likes or praise. Anxiety isn’t cute. There are tons of articles trying to turn it into something sweet.
Anxiety fucking sucks. And for some reason, people want to chameleon themselves into an anxiety sufferer. They want to cry out, “I’m SOOOO nervous about this date I’m going on! I’m such an anxious person!” and have you applaud them. That’s a problem. At its worst, anxiety can feel like death. At its best, anxiety feels like a cramping stomach. Neither are cute.Am I cute? Hell. Fucking. Yeah.But my anxiety? That’s not cute at all. It’s something I actively work against every single day. And that’s what you should applaud.”
2. A One Sentence Story About Social Anxiety by Jacob Geers
This article is the one of the best social anxiety pieces I have ever read. Geers is spectacular at capturing the imagery and the sounds and feelings you get when you suffer from this illness.
Excerpt: “weeds growing from nowhere and offering nothing except the inevitable possibility of tripping and falling and dying which is why you keep your eyes on the ground never daring to look up at what might actually be a bright world somewhere onward but how could this world be bright as you feel multiple people push past you on all sides and you cringe a little but you try to look up and smile as They stare at you with aggressive indifference that you cannot meet so you collapse collapse collapse into the suspended concrete sidewalk that you are a part of now as everyone walks on.”
3. 12 Things To Remember When You Love Someone With Anxiety by Karen Young
I love this piece because the author is gentle, but firm in describing the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses. She points out that anxiety is an ILLNESS, it’s not something to brush off.
Excerpt: “There’s a primitive part of all of our brains that’s geared to sense threat. For some people, it fires up a lot sooner and with a lot less reason than it does in others. When it does, it surges the body with cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline to get the body ready to run for its life or fight for it. This is the fight or flight response and it’s in everyone. The “go” button is a bit more sensitive for people with anxiety.”
4. Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Getting Anxiety by Chrissy Stockton
This piece by Chrissy Stockton is refreshingly raw and real. She doesn’t sugarcoat her experience or pretend that anxiety is any fun to have. This is a piece you need to read no matter if you’ve just started having anxiety, or if you’ve had it for years.
Excerpt: “A lot of 20-somethings have anxiety and it’s going to all but disappear completely when they’re in their 30’s. In your 20’s your life circumstances are very uncertain and always changing — there’s a lot to be anxious about. By the time you’re in your late 20’s you figure some things out, and the things that are still up in the air feel a lot less scary because you have so many other experiences under your belt where you’ve had to successfully deal with difficult problems. You can lean on your confidence that whatever comes your way will be something you can easily manage, which isn’t something to worry about.”
5. Anxiety: The New Normal Of 20 Something Life by Kovie Biakolo
When I first read this essay, it hit me right in the gut. I love Biakolo’s realness on the topic of anxiety and how it seems to now have become the new ‘normal’ amongst millennials.
Excerpt: “I think anxiety is the new normal of the twenty something life. How can it not be? A generation that much was expected from is seemingly not living up to expectations. That aside, the twenties are a transition now more than ever from essentially being a child to being an adult, and all the professional, financial, personal, and spiritual challenges that go along with that. I wish I could take my dad’s advice and remember, “Growing up is not easy, so take it easy.” That is sound advice, isn’t it?
But I think instead, we medicate.I’ve always medicated by overworking. Sometimes over-exercising. Sometimes over-consuming food or alcohol. And indeed it is not limited to these for many in my generation. Sometimes it’s drugs, sometimes it’s sex; it can be anything, and it can be everything. Of course the problem with medicating with things you shouldn’t, or things you shouldn’t do too much, is that it catches up with you. And maybe only has the effect of making you more anxious. Eventually, you break down. Maybe all you need is a mental health day, and a day or two to get it together. That’s what I needed. Maybe you need more. Get help if you need more. Either way, you don’t have to face your twenty something anxieties alone.”
6. My Fake Anxiety by Ryan O’Connell
I adore Ryan O’Connell, not only for his whit, but for his ability to tackle taboo subjects. This piece is a detailed essay about O’Connell’s experience with his first panic attack and his uncensored account of what he went through.
Excerpt: “After that night, I never experienced a panic attack again and eventually I learned how to breathe, although I’m not sure how. Today, I would call myself an anxious person, but I don’t know if I’m someone who legitimately struggles with anxiety. Everyone in their twenties says, “OMG, I’m gonna have an anxiety attack!” like it’s NBD but chances are they’re full of shit and just experiencing the normal levels of stress that come with being a human being in this weird world.
To this day, I’m not sure what triggered my summer of anxiety. It certainly wasn’t all the coke I hadn’t been doing! But I’m thankful that it’s never been that bad again. For the last two weeks, I’ve walked around with a pit in the bottom of my stomach and have had trouble sleeping. I definitely have been feeling very anxious and it’s starting to worry me. But then I remember this summer. I remember all the pulmonary specialists who told me, “Your body is fine but your brain might be crazy!” and then I remember the first and only panic attack I’ve ever had, and I get a grip. These aren’t bonafide anxiety issues I’m currently experiencing. I’ve had those before. This is just what happens when you pay attention to life.”
7. 12 Things I’ve Done Lately To Curb My Anxiety That Have Nothing To Do With Therapy by Kendra Syrdal
Read this piece if you’ve been trying everything to help your advice, but nothing to seems to work. Even when you go to therapy, there are plenty of other things that can help, which Kendra expertly details in this piece (that I’ve bookmarked).
Excerpt: “Not forcing myself to work after 6 if I really don’t want to. I love work, I feel fulfilled by work. I’ve also worked so much that it became less fulfilling, and more overwhelming at times. So now provided that everything I needed to get done that day is in fact done, if I don’t feel like doing anything after 5/6 PM, I don’t. I don’t answer emails, I don’t check Slack, I let myself be done. Boundaries! Who knew they were so great. Big fan of boundaries.”
8. 50 Simple Mini-Habits That Actually Help With Anxiety by Chrissy Stockton
These 50 simple but POWERFUL tips by Stockton are freaking amazing and sinpirational. Bookmark this immediately whenever you are feeling low or like anxiety has overcome your life.
Excerpt: “Prioritize sleep. For a long time I prided myself on not “needing” as much sleep as other people, but when I started working evenings and could sleep as long as I wanted to in the morning, I discovered how much more relaxed I felt every day when I was consistently getting enough sleep. I have to get up in the mornings again, but my day is a lot easier when I don’t interfere with my sleep budget. If falling asleep is difficult, this recipe almost always helps me feel relaxed, worry-free, and ready to sleep: a clean bedroom, freshly washed sheets, and a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow. You will wake up feeling like you were on vacation at a spa, at least until you actually open your eyes.”
9. This Is How I Kicked My Anxiety In The Gut And Beat It For Good by Lo Bosworth
I love this article because Lo Bosworth is someone you would never think of as type of person to have anxiety. But she too, as a beautiful celebrity battles this mental illness. Read this when you feel like you’re completely alone.
Excerpt: “Say the words “what is” out loud now and follow them up with exactly the position you’re in. What is real, what is now, what is around you. For example, if I can’t sleep and my mind begins to wander into what my schedule looks like the next day, essentially turning on my brain power and putting sleepiness to the side, I try to get into the headspace of “what is” instead of “what if”. What is really happening right now is simple: I’m just laying in bed. The moment is now. Being present, and not worrying about the future or fantasies does something to stem the anxious thoughts that flood through a stressed-out mind.”
10. What It’s Like To Try To Fall Asleep When You Have Anxiety by Chrissy Stockton
Once again, Chrissy manages to write yet another article about anxiety that is mind blowingly relatable. Read this when you feel like your symptoms are becoming out of control.
Excerpt: “It’s a battle, something to be geared up for, something to actively work on. It’s something that can only be helped along by working on your anxiety, by learning little tools or tricks that don’t make it go away, but at least make you feel calm enough to stop obsessing. I’ve literally gotten out of bed and written an email, packed a lunch, cleaned my room — anything to feel more settled, to appease my brain, to allow it to let me relax.It can feel like failure, like all the work you’ve done to improve your anxiety hasn’t amounted to much. But that’s not fair. Even people without anxiety have trouble being alone with their thoughts. It’s good to remind ourselves where we are at with our own battles, a good night of sleep being the carrot dangling in front of us, moving us towards the next thing that might help. But it is a nightly reality for those of us with anxiety, and it’s not fun to deal with”
11. 11 Things People Don’t Realize You Are Doing Because Of Your Anxiety by Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
I wrote this article because there are a lot of symptoms that people don’t even realize are anxiety. I used to think I had cancer, or had some sort of brain tumor because I was having such awful and psychical symptoms. Turns out? It was anxiety.
Excerpt: “You become more worried for yourself when people voice concern for you. When people ask you if you are ok when you are having an anxiety attack, or when people come to you when you are way over your head with negative thoughts, it makes your anxiety worse. Of course they all mean well, but when others worry for you, it makes you think – “If they are worried, then I should worry even more about myself!”
12. What Anxiety Actually Is, Because It’s More Than ‘Just Worrying’ by Kirsten Corley
This piece by Kirsten Corley effortlessly details what anxiety actually is and what anxiety actually feels like. Read this when you feel like noone understand what you are going through.
Excerpt: “It’s sweaty palms and a racing heart. But on the outside, no one can see it. You appear calm and at ease and smiling but underneath is anything but that. Anxiety is the art of deception for people who don’t know you. And for the people who do, it’s a constant stream of phrases like, ‘don’t worry’ or ‘you’re overthinking this’ or ‘relax.’ It’s friends listening to these conclusions you’ve drawn and not really understanding how you got there. But they’re there trying to support you, as things go from bad to worse in your mind. Anxiety is wanting to fix something that isn’t even a problem.”